The historical part of Tbilisi, known as Old Tbilisi, encompasses several districts and settlements that were once referred to as Tiflis until 1936. These districts include Abanotubani, Kharpukhi, Kala, Isani-Avlabari, Sololaki, Mtatsminda, Vere, Ortachala, Chugureti, Didube, and Nadzaladevi.
Old Tbilisi is the main tourist attraction in Tbilisi, as it is home to most of the city’s sights. The district is notable for the functioning sulfur baths of Abanotubani and the bustling Sharden Street, filled with popular restaurants, open-air cafes, galleries, nightclubs, and more. The charming old architecture of wooden carved houses and balconies is also a major draw for visitors.
Old Tbilisi has been a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition since 2007.
Tbilisi is one of the world’s oldest cities and has served as the capital of Iberia, as documented in ancient Georgian and foreign literature. The city was founded in the 4th century and became the capital of the Kingdom of Kartli in the 5th century under King Vakhtang Gorgasali. The city was divided into three parts – Tiflis, Kala, and Isni – and was divided by the Mtkvari River. Kala was confined to a fortress and was home to royal residences, palaces, churches, baths, and observatories. The northern slopes were occupied by monastic complexes, while the southern slopes housed a Royal Palace Garden. The city center was once in Kldisubani, but by the 19th century, it had moved to Sololaki.
Tbilisi Old Town is a maze of narrow streets located at the foot of the Narikala Fortress, with wooden balconies overlooking old brick homes. Hidden courtyards and climbing vines add to its charm, while some areas have been extensively renovated, giving a Disney-like appearance to certain streets. However, much of Old Town remains untouched, with cracks and crumbling walls adding to its real and picturesque atmosphere. The architecture is a blend of Asian and European styles, including classical Russian and Art Nouveau. The Abanotubani area, famous for its Sulphur Baths, is located on the northern edge. The main street, Kote Abkhazi, connects Meidani and Freedom Square. In the northeast, Chardeni is a lively neighborhood filled with bars, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs. To the west, Old Town blends into Sololaki, a charming and photogenic area to explore.
Tbilisi is known for its rich urban customs, moral, aesthetic, and traditional qualities, and has always been a culturally and historically significant city.